Learning one skill will improve everything you write. Ready? Here it is: Write like you talk That’s it? Yes, that’s it. But it’s not as easy as it sounds. It’s a skill and like any skill, it can be learned and with some practice, you can master it. What’s in it for me, you ask? First, writing will be easier, less of a chore. Instead of fighting the page, you will sound like you. You might even find you really like to write. Who knows. You might have a story inside you that other people really need to read. Topics include tips on: Voice Character Plot Structure Dialog Conflict Sensory Elements Setting Beginnings Endings
The fisherman may sit in his boat and contemplate bait—night crawlers or a lure? Maybe something fancier? What he never considers, however, is throwing a line in without a hook. He never thinks, “My cord is so well made, so strong and beautiful, what fish wouldn’t want to wrap itself up in it and jump into my boat?” But countless writers do just that when they ignore the first sentence. For many, it’s just sentence one to move them to sentence two—a means to an end, rather than bait. What they don’t realize is that the first line’s purpose is to compel the reader forward, to push them to the second, to create a sense of urgency to read on. For the writers who ignore this, there is no literary seduction in their fiction. There is only the story, which may or may not be read fully. Likely, the reader may not even make it to the second line.
Maybe you struggle with the first line, and that’s okay. To a large extent, we all do. It’s hard to find a line that’s going to entice readers and propel them onward with eager anticipation. But crafting a stellar first line doesn’t need to be confounding. A fisherman has many types of bait. A writer has many ways to open their fiction—character, setting, voice. More often than not, the best bait is the unexpected, the question-proposing line that skims across the surface of the water to attract impatient readers slogging through the river. The first line has become organic and has breathed, and the reader can smell its breath. These are the lines that live in our memories—the stuff literary dreams are made of.
You can use this book in any way you see fit. Nothing says you have to read it straight-through even. Feel free to skip around, browse each section, work on whatever you feel you need to develop. But the ideal reader of this book (at least in my mind) is going to have pen and paper handy, or at least be near their computer, so they can scrawl out a few lines as they go through each section. Bottom line—first lines take practice, and like any artists, we’ve got to write some real stinkers before we find the right one. Roll up your sleeves, and let’s get cracking.
1. The Case For The First Line
2. Get A Load Of These: The 100 Best Lines In Novels
3. Size Matters: Novels V. Short Stories
4. But You Should See The Other Guy: Conflict
5. A Duck Walks Into A Pharmacy: Character
6. Beg Your Pardon? The Unexpected First Line
7. Making The Stage: Setting And Tone
8. Jello To The Wall: Nailing Voice
9. What You Do When You Say It: Dialogue And Action
10. The Sampler Platter: Compound-complexes And Run-ons
Have you ever wished you could write a devotion but didn’t know how? Do you feel as though God is calling you to a writing ministry but you’re not sure how to begin?
“When you write for God, and you really mean it… your work may never show up on the shelves at Lifeway. It may never find its way into bound print at all. But when you write for God, when you write with the heart of a servant…you may find that your words are only meant for the guy sitting next to you. If you can accept this…live with it…grasp it…then you can write for God as a ministry.” – Alton Gansky
In Turning Personal Experiences into Parables, you will learn how to write devotions for church newsletters, periodicals, websites and books. A devotional ministry can complement the advancement of a building campaign, mission work and church projects. Learn how to draw readers in with the “Hook, Book, Look, Took” method: a time-tested technique used by best-selling authors. See how to “Write From Your Wound to Their Pain,” craft stories with the authority, speak as a prophet of God, discover your writing ministry, learn the six key secrets every successful writer knows, and much more.
For some, a devotion may be their only Bible for the day, so learn how to touch hearts, teach His Word and change lives.
Writing to a Post-Christian World, by Ann Tatlock
Is our nation on a downward spiral? Can the corrosion of our culture be reversed? Or are we experiencing the end of God’s blessing due to our depravity? For the past 50 years our culture has undergone a monumental shift as the media has pulled people into a whole new way of thinking. Gone is the idea that absolutes exist. Instead our leaders and educators preach a belief that everything is relative….including truth. How do we respond to such muddled thinking? How do we present the one true Truth to a culture that worships diversity of thought and morals? In this concise, easy-to-read book, Ann Tatlock answers these questions and more:
* What is a biblical worldview?
* What is The Great Literary Conversation?
* How has revisionism affected the Church?
* How has relativism affected our culture?
* What is postmodern literature?
* What is our greatest task as Christian writers?
Take a stand for truth. Take a pen and write.
Praise for Writing to a Post-Christian World
“Ann Tatlock writes and teaches from experience. As an award-winning novelist, she is a practitioner of the artistic skills it takes to share deep messages through enthralling stories. As a guest professor at universities and as a keynote speaker at writers’ conferences, she provides pragmatic advice on logic, creativity, organization, and style that enables developing writers to sharpen their skills as communicators. Here now, in this succinct text, are precise lessons from a master teacher and author.” – Dennis E. Hensley, Ph.D., Director of the Professional Writing Dept., Taylor University
“Ann Tatlock has a gift with words, and she uses that gift in this book to support the creativity of the believer, to bolster us with the truth and help us keep moving forward with our stories.” – Hannah Alexander, Award-winning novelist
“Ann Tatlock’s Writing to a Post-Christian World is an amazingly clear, meaty and readable essay. I was especially touched by her analysis of why Christian fiction can be a powerful call to believe in God, a way to soften hearts, hardened and confused by the world. Well said, Ann!” -Lyn Cote
“For me, not so much because I am (or in my case, am not) seeking direction or purpose as a Christian writer, but because it spoke to me as a reader. A reader who loves word-pictures through illustrations and personal stories. I would probably never pick up an article (much less a book) on the topic of “post-modernism”. Though I am thoroughly enjoying “The Truth Project”, I am not enthused over conversations surrounding words like “relativism”, world-view, post-modern thinking, etc… But after reading Ann’s booklet, I don’t think I’ve ever read anything that explained it so vividly to me without boring me out of my mind. I will remember that post-modernism= a culture that “shuns” absolutes. And yes, statements like Oprah’s are nothing more than “wishful thinking”. I loved the “prime meridian” analogy and will use it next time someone tells me that there are no absolutes or that people who live by them are narrow-minded.
“What a charge and commission we have as Christian to speak the truth whether in spoken or written word. An effective communicator always recognizes their audience (and in our case– the post-modern world…made up of unbelievers and sick choirs). We need to read pieces like Ann’s to give us clarification and spur us on to good works!” – Angie Martin
Great things can happen with your freelance writing career. Your lifelong dream of becoming a successful freelance writer can come true. Walt Disney once said, “If you can dream it, you can do it.” Disney never lost sight of his dream to create, and although he was faced with many obstacles, he never gave up. He was once told he “lacked creativity,” but went on to accomplish many great things. As I travel around the country teaching at Writer’s Conferences, I meet many wonderful people. Some of those people are filled with the hope that “one day, maybe I will be published.” Still others, who have found moderate success, are filled with the hope that “one day, maybe I will sell more of what I write.”
How about you? Are you ready to overcome your obstacles and see your freelance writing dreams come true? Well my friend, if you grab the winning formula: Prayer + Attitude + Confidence = Freelance Writing Success; then the sky is the limit!
Making a scene is as easy as: ABCD. A good scene reveals information that moves the story forward (new goals, old secrets, hidden motives), shows conflict between characters (adds tension), deepens the character’s development, and creates suspense (introduces a new wrinkle that leaves the reader hanging). Learn the three keys to scene summary, how to create memorable moments in your story, what 4 questions you should ask of each scene.
Learn professional secrets and begin crafting great scenes in just five minutes.
Plotting Simplified: Story Structure Tips For The Break-Out Novelist, by Eddie Jones
We remember characters; we pitch plot. In this book you’ll learn how to map your story using the plot points that mark every journey. From introduction and motivation to your Lead’s moment of maxim angst, you’ll see how easy it is to develop a story line and keep your characters on the path to a compelling climax. Learn how to introduce the Great Disturbance, what 4 Questions you should ask of your plot, how to chart the 13 Passage Markers, the 7 Keys to every good plot, why Worry,Conflict and Disaster spell success for the writer, and how to introduce your Major Dramatic Question.